ANA to Offer Virtual Travel Produced by ‘Final Fantasy’ Creator

ANA Holdings Inc., which owns All Nippon Airways Co., is embarking on a new business that will offer virtual travel via smartphones.

As the coronavirus crisis continues to make travel difficult, the company will employ 3D computer graphics to re-create cities and spectacular scenery in Japan and abroad for its new form of tourism.

The new venture will be positioned as one of ANA Holdings’ core business fields outside of aviation.

ANA Neo, a subsidiary launched in August last year, will be in charge of the business. Virtual trips are expected to be offered in two to three years.

Hajime Tabata, the president of a game production company and known for developing the popular “Final Fantasy” game series, has been appointed as the general producer. Tabata is expected to utilize his know-how from the game series, which is highly reputed for its beautiful imagery.

Plans for the virtual travel business include such services as allowing users to buy local souvenirs and participate in events via their smartphones. It will also offer a virtual flight experience that will make you feel as if you are on board a plane flying to your destination. A system that allows users to earn air miles by purchasing services and souvenirs is also being considered.

ANA Holdings, whose business is suffering due to the pandemic, hopes to once again make people realize the appeal of travel by offering the virtual travel experience globally. The company also hopes to boost travel demand among foreigners, as the number of foreigners visiting Japan has suffered a sharp decline.